• 464,967 civic complaints were registered by Delhites during January 2014 to December 2015
• In the three MCDs (Municipal Corporation of Delhi), 17,287 issues were raised by municipal councillors in the ward committee meetings during January 2014 to December 2015
• 320 issues raised by Delhi MLAs on civic issues during 24th February 2015 to 22nd December 2015
• 28 councillors in 2014 and 26 councillors in 2015 have not raised a single issue in the ward committee; while, 9 MLAS have not raised a single civic issue
• Highest number of (151,118) complaints were registered on water issues while only 33 issues were raised by MLAs and 146 issues were raised by councillors
Praja Foundation a non-partisan organisation working towards enabling accountable governance has released its report on state of civic services provided by Municipal Corporation of Delhi and State Government of Delhi through the Delhi Jal (Water) Board.
Three Municipal Corporations, State government, Delhi Jal Board, Central Government, LG (Lieutenant Governor), DDA (Delhi Development Authority) etc. are all responsible for the smooth functioning of Delhi. This multiplicity of organisations and Authorities and added to that a bitter political rivalry has been a complete Disaster as far has the Governance of this City is concerned. The outbreak of Dengue and Chikungunya and the recent ‘floods’ is a direct outcome of this, nobody is responsible and everybody is to blame.
Nitai Mehta, Managing Trustee, Praja Foundation says: “While the governing authorities of the city continue to battle over jurisdictions and are locked in a state of constant power struggle, it is the CITIZEN who suffers through it all.”
Milind Mhaske, Project Director, Praja Foundation continues “An average citizen is mostly concerned with three things:
(i) Efficient civic services;
(ii) When he or she faces a problem with the service provided – then an easy to access grievance redressal system where he/she can register a complaint and get the problem resolved in prescribed time limit;
(iii) Transparent and Accountable Authorities and Responsive Elected Representatives (ER).”
Take for example some of the ground realities in the city: While there were 151,118 complaints registered on issues relevant to Water Supply, only 179 issues have been raised by our ERs (Councillors in ward committees during 2014 & 2015 and MLAs on civic issues in 2015 sessions).
• On, Sewerage, 64,534 complaints were registered and only 114 issues were raised.
• On, Unauthorised constructions, 82,127 complaints were registered and only 532 issues were raised.
• On, Drainage chokes & blockages, 25,351 complaints were registered and only 146 issues were raised.
• On, Nuisance due to stray dogs, monkeys, etc., 40,005 complaints were registered and only 375 issues were raised.
• On, Mosquito nuisance & fogging, 13,529 complaints were registered and only 234 issues were raised.
Addressing citizens’ issues and actively trying to ensure effective solutions to those issues is “THE” job of an elected representative (ER). Ideally, a responsible ER would be looking at the data (citizens’ complaints) and raise relevant issues and deliberate this in the elected forum. ERs have at their disposal various instruments to ensure effective deliberation. ‘Ward committees’, is one such crucial instrument that is available to Municipal Councillors for initiating these deliberations on local civic issues for delivering subsequent effective governance. Similarly, the state assembly sessions are for MLAs.
Mhaske comments, “However, while ERs have clearly not been using the forum to its full potential, there is also a deeper issue here: the Municipal Corporation Delhi, State, and Central Government – Mayor, CM, and LG – all using the multiple layer of the system as a shield to pass blame on each other and shirk away from taking responsibility.”
Mehta concludes by adding, “So what we see today is a growing need to seriously consider a complete restructuring of the governance infrastructure in the city. To put simply, Delhi today needs citizen-centric simplified governance that is capable of addressing citizens’ concerns responsibly, transparently and efficiently. While the political leadership of the city has clearly shown a lack of maturity and initiative in addressing this issue till now, it would be in the best interest of the city’s citizens if its custodians start taking a collaborative effort in addressing the many issues relating to urban governance and proactively trying to simplify the citizens lives.”
About PRAJA Foundation:
PRAJA was founded in 1997 by a group of eight Mumbaites with a vision to re-establish accountability and transparency in governance. These individuals were fuelled by a concern about a general lack of interest among the Citizens’ in the local government. Praja aims to create awareness among the citizens, and therefore empower them though the knowledge.
PRAJA believes that the availability of information can go a long way towards simplifying people’s lives and evoking participation. This aims to ensure a holistic approach for ushering good governance must have buy in of our ideas from the elected representatives. At the same time, there should be tools and mechanisms which enable citizens to keep a close watch on the work done by their elected representatives. PRAJA’s goals are simplifying people’s lives, empowering the citizens and government with facts and creating instruments of change to improve the quality of life of citizens in India. PRAJA is committed to creating an accountable and efficient society through people’s participation.